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By Casey Christie / The Californian
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By Ben Cawthra/London News Pictures/ZUMAPRESS.com
By JOHN ARTHUR, Californian executive editor
READER: To all of you writing about the water levels up at Lake Isabella. You are doing a huge disservice to our community and the business owners trying to stay afloat in a terrible economy. We sit here on our decks watching our beloved water be drained down to Bakersfield so the farmers can grow their crops and we understand that it has to be done.
Nevertheless we have to pay our mortgage and try to keep our businesses open and your articles are not helping. Try something positive. There are a ton of things to do up here, And there is water everywhere -- sometimes the fun is finding a good spot.
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Think about if the ones of us that do own a business up here decide to cash it in and give up the fight, it will be a ghost town and you won't have a place to play. Does that make any sense to you self-centered want to be famous journalists?
ARTHUR: News is what's different and unusual. The dam is being worked on and there's a drought. The lake level is very low. That's news.
We don't write these stories to be negative -- or positive -- about your businesses or any others. But we're not the Chamber of Commerce, looking to put a positive spin on everything. We just want to tell it like it is, as Uncle Walter used to say. Steve Merlo, our outdoors man, has been writing about the lake levels all summer. He also continues to note that the fishing has been terrific.
READER: Your article on the possible ordinance that would prevent abortions in Bakersfield covered the issue completely....
However, I found that there was a certain slant in the article against abortions. Your paper usually is very judicious in not taking sides on an issue. But in the article your reporter repeatedly referred to those against the measure as "pro-abortion." I believe a less biased term would be pro-choice, as many people who oppose abortion are pro-choice.
Kerry S. McGill
ON FACEBOOK: Did you ask this group the descriptive term they use for themselves? TBC uses both "pro-choice" and "pro-abortion." I have never actually met anyone who claims to be "pro-abortion."
COPY DESK CHIEF CHRISTINE LACOMBE REPLIES: "Pro-abortion rights" would have been better. The Associated Press style, which we use, is to use anti-abortion and pro-abortion rights instead of pro-life and pro-choice, respectively.
READER: Why does The Californian use the photo of the Silva family? By publishing the photo, TBC is victimizing three young girls, who are not connected to, or responsible in any way, for the incident involving Silva and KC / CHP law enforcement.
Are there any editorial policies anymore? How do these girls go to school in the fall when your staff has made it impossible for them to have some privacy? ...With digital files and even the most basic photo editing program you could resize and center on Silva's face alone, right?
ARTHUR: Neither the family nor their lawyers have complained about our use of these pictures. We sometimes use only David Silva's mug shot, other times use a family photo. We're not doing this to take sides in the case but my guess is that the lawyers think the family photos serve to humanize David Silva.
Notes story author Steven Mayer: The photo shows Silva as a father, adding valuable context to the story.
ARTHUR: As noted earlier, our recent gay marriage cover of one man kissing his partner on the cheek -- the CHEEK! -- got some people riled up. My discussion of the matter in a previous column, when I asked who hasn't had photos of their wedding, prompted some more letters:
READER: Absolutely someone took pictures at my wedding. But you know what? Not a one of them appeared on the front page of your rag. Methinks when one has only a weak argument, it's best to shoot the messenger (irked reader).
Asked my colleague ROBERT PRICE: Were you married the week after a Supreme Court decision made your wedding possible? One of us does indeed have a weak argument.
READER: I was very disturbed that some of the readers were irate about the wonderful picture of the baseball player on The Californian cover instead of the very sad news about 19 firefighters that died.
I am most pleased to start out my day with pleasant things. It makes me happy. I feel an entire page on the inside of the paper can be used for the sad and heart-breaking news. I love your column and also The Californian.
ARTHUR: Thanks for your note. We agree that a happy cover is better than a sad cover, but, alas, sometimes the news is not good.
These party-poopers had nothing good to say. A sampling:
Angel Correa: "Who cares? Did we not have a revolution to free ourselves from the monarchy? Figureheads paid by the taxes of the people to live a plush life for the rest of their lives."
Oskarlos Perales Rojas: "Why is this important or even relevant? There are more important world issues at hand. Global warming, human rights violations, terrorism, hunger, etc. you name it is more important than the 'royals'."
Simon Romero: "What makes that baby any more important than any other baby when God created us all equal?"
Jillian Mai Thi: "Why does that make news, but world peace is on the back burner... priorities people. Seriously."
Penelope Kehagias (a voice of reason here): "I think this is about history for the English. He is a prince. I have never watched it on TV. I think it's great to have a positive piece of news once in a while. Blessed be the family and baby boy. And the world."
Zoran Maric: "Wow big deal. Are we independent from England? Does not look like!!!
And finally, I particularly like this one -- he cancelled but he still goes online to read about us so he can complain.
Aaron Philley: "This is why I cancelled my subscription. Irrelevant 'news'."
Thanks to all. More fun next time.